I peed my pants, but now I’m wiser

By Faryn Duncan | January 21, 2018

I am starting to realize that real life starts soon. I only have one more semester after this one, (if all goes as planned and the perpetual struggle of registering for classes doesn’t hold me back), and that means it is time to figure out what the hell comes next. But, I am holding off on decisions a little longer — and holding on to the simplicity of college life and the problems that come along with it.


I feel like I am getting old though, you know? My eyes strain when I look at my computer screen too long, I long for lumbar support in the chairs in classrooms, I scoff at the obsessive manner in which teenagers use Snapchat today. I am what they call “matured.”


And, in my wise, old age, I have a piece of advice I’d like to share with those of younger years; a lesson that I keep in mind as I begin searching for jobs and making a name for myself. But this isn’t a new lesson — I learned it long ago. Let’s flashback to second grade.


This honestly may have been my peak. I was no thespian, but my unquenching thirst to be the best at everything drove me to audition for a speaking role in my second grade play. The plot of the play was quite genius, and I am still shocked that it was not nominated for any awards. We were all dressed as bugs and sang about homework. Groundbreaking work. But the play is beside the point. I got the part as the monarch butterfly and I brought the crowd to tears (probably) with my stunning performance. I deserve a Tony. But it’s okay, I’m not bitter.


My dad recorded the show with his digital video camera, we popped it into a very elementary version of iMovie, and added a title screen and rolling credits at the end with each of my classmates’ names featured in the list. I brought the DVD to my class so we could watch our masterpiece. Now I was both an actress beyond my time and the cool kid who got us out of an hour of learning cursive.


I think we all had scheduled class bathroom breaks in elementary school. If you didn’t go when the whole class went, well, that’s too bad because now you don’t get to go at all. Well, you know what, I just didn’t have to go that day at that specific time! But boy did I have to go when Mrs. Lorenz told the class we would be stopping the lesson to watch the DVD I brought in. I asked her if I could go to the bathroom while everyone was setting up their chairs to face the TV but I got a hard no.


“You should’ve gone with the rest of the class,” I’m sure she said.


I peed. I sat back down in my seat and couldn’t hold it in any longer. I peed. Why I didn’t tell my teacher that it was an emergency, I’ll never know. Instead I peed my pants, left a literal puddle in my seat and a huge wet mark on my dark wash jeans. Luckily no one had noticed, but then my teacher called me to the front of the class to help her set up the DVD so we could watch our play. How could I stand in front of my peers after my unprecedented performance with freshly peed-in pants?


I stood, with the dignity I had left, tied my sweatshirt around my waist as an act of camouflage, and walked up to the roll-in TV. A little pee wouldn’t stop me.


Now here I am, at the face of adulthood with thousands of other soon-to-be post-college hopefuls looking for a job. I imagine I will get handfuls of rejections, many unanswered phone calls and pages full of red edit marks returned to me from my editors. I’d like to think I will be the next Joan Didion or Ernest Hemingway or Nora Ephron, and that I will pioneer a new wave of journalism the second I graduate, but that is probably not likely. Until I get there, I am just going to tie my sweatshirt around my waist and keep going.


So, as you head into the new semester and the grades start coming in, and your GPA falls, and you don’t get your dream job or internship, and you fail a test you stayed up all night studying for or maybe you just actually pee your pants — grab a sweatshirt. Apply for another one, do some extra credit, invest in some adult diapers. Whatever the case, don’t stop. I peed my pants. I still haven’t gotten my Tony, but I am here waiting for it when they are ready to recognize my talent.

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